Updated: Oct 12, 2022
Table of Contents
Above are the main topics of this article and what most potential employers ask when determining their company’s drug testing process. Read on to discover everything you need to know about the different drug testing processes, together with details of recommended options and a few sample drug testing policies.
What is a Drug Test?
A drug test is a medical examination that analyzes your urine, blood, or saliva to detect the presence of certain drugs in your system. Drug tests are used to screen employees in various industries, such as transportation, healthcare, and manufacturing, as well as individuals who may be receiving government assistance.
Some employers also use drug tests to screen prospective employees as a part of the hiring process.
Drug test types vary depending on your specific needs and can be administered in a variety of ways.
Drugs are metabolized by the body at different rates, so the length of time you’re able to pass a drug test varies from drug to drug.
For example, a urine drug test will detect the presence of drugs in your system for 3-7 days, whereas hair follicle testing will detect the presence of drugs in your system for 90 days.
Urine testing is a common method of drug testing due to its cost-effectiveness and ease of collection.
How To Order Employer Drug Tests Today
Go to our USA Employer Background Check page and scroll down to "Schedule a Drug Test".
Click "Add to Bag" and Check out.
Your applicant will receive an email with their electronic background check authorization form and a link to schedule their drug test in any of the 4.5k Quest or LabCorp locations they choose in the USA.
By Default, applicant will have 72 hours from when they select the location of their choice to go get testing. If you would like more or less time, simply leave the note in the "Order Instructions" while checking out.
Due to our National Partnerships with all Labcorp and Quest labs, we provide screening locations in every state and county in the USA.
The Drug Testing Process for a Non-DOT Background Check
5-Panel Drug Test
A 5-panel drug test is the most basic drug test that screens for 5 types of drugs: cocaine, opiates, cannabis, amphetamines, and PCP.
Let’s look at each of these types of drugs and discuss their prevalence among employers and workforce.
What drugs does a 5 panel test for? (In Detail)
Opiates - Opiates are a class of drugs derived from the opium poppy plant, which is present in Southeast Asia, Southwest Asia, and Northern Mexico. Opiates are often used as pain relievers, but they’re also commonly abused due to their euphoric effects. Some common opiates include morphine, codeine, fentanyl, oxycodone, and heroin.
Slang terms for Opiates: Captain Cody, black tar, China girl, Dance Fever, Hillbilly heroin, Perks, Juice, Oxys
Cannabis - Cannabis is a plant that is native to Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent. It’s the most commonly used illegal substance in the world and comes in three different forms: marijuana, hash oil, and hash. The latter two are more potent and present a greater risk of abuse. Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal substance in the U.S. However, employers should be aware that some state laws still prohibit the use of marijuana, even for medicinal purposes.
Slang terms for Cannabis: Weed, Green, Pot, Dank, Mids, Fire, Maryjane
Amphetamines - Amphetamines are synthetic stimulants that can be found in prescription drugs such as Adderall and Vyvanse. These drugs are often used for treating disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. - PCP - PCP, or phencyclidine, is a hallucinogenic street drug that is often referred to as “angel dust.” It is a Schedule II drug in the U.S., meaning it has a high risk of abuse and addiction. PCP is known for its destructive and violent side effects, with an average user experiencing an 8-hour trip.
Slang terms for Amphetamines: Addys, Speed, Angel Dust,
Cocaine - Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant drug that is extracted from the leaves of the coca plant, primarily found in South America. However, the U.S. is the world’s largest consumer of the coca plant and the second largest producer. Cocaine is commonly ingested through snorting, smoking, or injection but is known to be a very dangerous drug with many short-term and long-term health effects.
Cocaine Slang Terms: Coke, White Girl, Snow, Snuff, Speed
How long does it take to test for a 5-Panel Drug test?
The average time it takes for a drug test to complete is 2-3 business days from when the applicant gets tested. A positive test may take an additional 1 or 2 business days.
How much does a 5-panel drug test cost?
A 5-panel drug test typically costs $45-$60 depending on the number of requests you need in 1 year. Here at GBS, you you order a 5-panel drug test today for employment purposes for $51.
10-panel Drug Test
A 10-panel drug test analyzes the presence of 10 drugs in your system, including the 5 tested in the 5-panel test described above (Amphetamines, Cocaine, Marijuana, Opiates, PCP) and an additional 5 including: Barbiturates, Benzodiazepines, Methadone, Propoxyphene, and Methaqualone.
Let’s look at each of these additional 5 types of drugs and discuss their prevalence among employers and workforce.
What Drugs Does a 10-Panel Test for?
Barbiturates - Commonly known as sedative-hypnotics. Barbiturates can be very dangerous and even a slight overdose can cause coma or death. The most common uses of Barbiturates are for preventing seizures, treating insomnia, treating high cerebrospinal fluid pressure in the skull and even pre-anesthesia sedation.
What are examples of Barbiturates? Amobarbital, Butalbital, Methohexital, Pentobarbital, Phenobarbital, Primidone, and Secobarbital. Slang terms for Barbiturates : Slang terms for barbiturates include barbs, barbies, bluebirds, dolls, wallbangers, yellows, downers, goofballs, sleepers, 'reds & blues', and tooties
Benzodiazepines - These drugs alter the activity of the neurons that trigger stress and anxiety reactions. The Food and Drug Admin (FDA) have approved Benzodiazepines for treatment of: Insomnia, Anxiety disorders, seizure disorders, panic disorders, other sleep disorders, tic disorders, bipolar disorders, and even to manage alcohol withdrawal.
What are examples of Benzodiazepines: Alprazolam (Xanex, chlordiazepoxide (Librium), clonazepam (Klonopin), clorazepate (Tranxene) and diazepam (Valium)
Slang Terms for Benzodiazepine: Benzos, blues, xannies, school buses, footballs, bars
Methadone, sold under the brand names Dolophine and Methadose among others, is a synthetic opioid agonist used for chronic pain and also for opioid dependence. It is used to treat chronic pain, and it is also used to treat addiction to heroin or other opioids
Slang Terms for Methadone - Dollies, Dolls, Fizzies, Mud, Red Rock, Tootsie Roll
Propoxyphene - are narcotic pain relievers and used to relieve mild to moderate pain. It's sold under various names as a single-ingredient product (ex. Darvon) and as part of a combination product with Acetaminophen (ex. Darvocet). Propoxyphene can be extremely addictive and prior to the FDA ban, the DEA listed Darvon as one of the top 10 most abused drugs in the USA. Slang terms for Propoxyphene - Pinks, 65s, Footballs, Ns
Methaqualone - Is a central nervous system depressant that acts as a sedative and hypnotic. Eventhough Methaqualone is no longer manufactured legally in the USA, it's still possible to find people selling them in the street. The effects of Methaqualone is similar to that of barbiturates.
Slang terms for Methaqualone: Quaaludes, disco biscuits
How much does a 10 panel drug test for employment cost?
A 10-panel drug test typically costs $48-$65 depending on the number of requests you need in 1 year. Here at GBS, you you order a 10-panel drug test today for employment purposes starting at $54.
What are the drug test cut off levels? (LabCorp and Quest)
Below are the default cutoff levels from Global Background Screening, Quest, and Labcorp. These panel cut off levels are fully customizable if needed. Simply send the level required by your organization to email@example.com
DOT Drug Test and Rules
The Department of Transportation (DOT) sets the standard for drug testing truck drivers and other transportation workers.
What does the Department of Transportation (DOT) drug test for?
Amphetamines - Methamphetamine, MDA- Analogues
Opiates (Basic) - Morphine, Codeine
Opiates (Semi-Synthetic) - Hydromorphone, Hydrocodone
How Long do DOT drug tests take?
The average time a DOT drug test takes is 72 hours. However, as you can see on the chart below, in certain circumstances, the DOT regulations may require a result to be held by the MRO (Medical Review Officer) for up to 10 business day. This is because the MRO may need to confirm prescriptions with physicians and other processes.
Other industries may choose to test their employees for additional drugs. Below you will see the process for a DOT drug test as it differs greatly compared to the Non-DOT process of drug testing.
What is the Process For a DOT drug test?
The process is much more involved than a Non-DOT test. Due to additional
Hair Follicle Testing
Hair follicle testing is the most accurate method of drug testing and will detect the presence of drugs in your system for 90 days.
It’s also the most expensive drug test, but it’s often used by employers in safety-sensitive positions.
The default Hair Testing Panel is the same as the 5-Panel Urine Test above. However, this can be customized to whatever panel is needed.
A small sample of hair is clipped from the root, usually from the back of the head, and sent for laboratory analysis. Hair follicle testing is a viable option for employers who want to test for marijuana usage, as this drug can be detected in the system for up to 90 days.
Hair follicle testing is also suitable for employers who want to test for employees who have been abusing other drugs for a long period of time.
Drug testing is an essential element of a company’s drug use prevention program. Drug testing can reduce workplace accidents, injuries, and deaths and decrease workers’ compensation costs.
Once a company decides on the type of drug test to administer, it must then decide how and when it will administer the test. Drug testing can either be random or pre-employment. The most common method of drug testing is random drug testing, as it is less costly than pre-employment drug testing.